Set during a single day in Johannesburg - the day of Nelson Mandela's death - Melrose's second novel is a hymn to an extraordinary city and its people, an ambitious homage to Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, and a devastating personal and political manifesto on love.
6 December 2013.
It is a searing hot day in Johannesburg. Gin has returned to the city of her birth to throw a party for her mother's eightieth birthday. She is determined, with lists and meals and flower arrangements, to show that she has become a fully capable woman. She knows, deep down, her mother will only ever see a lost cause.
Meanwhile outside, crowds of citizens and the world's media have gathered to hear the expected announcement: Nelson Mandela has died.
Set across the course of a single momentous day and narrated by a chorus of voices, Fiona Melrose's second novel is a hymn to an extraordinary city and its people, an ambitious homage to Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, and a devastating personal and political manifesto on mothers and daughters, justice and love.
'Beautifully observed' Mail on Sunday
'Woolf produced blooms that are impossible to emulate. Johannesburg provides evidence of a novelist who can grow inimitable flowers herself' Spectator
Following the interlinked lives of a handful of Johannesburg residents, this is an ambitious, beautifully written novel that seems to sing. - Sarra Manning, Red magazine
The pages fly by. Clearly written from the heart, in it we can find much of our own lives, regardless of the setting. Melrose paints the city beautifully, full of grace, colour and even fear. - Belfast Telegraph
Delicate yet devastating . . . Melrose beautifully captures the simmering, shimmering city and the vivid characters that walk its tense streets. - Psychologies magazine
Melrose portrays [the city] beautifully, full of grace, colour and even fear. - Independent i
Melrose can undoubtedly write . . . what emerges is her original depiction of modern Johannesburg - a beautiful, violent, unforgiving place that is a social reality and a state of mind. - Daily Mail
Beautifully observed . . . Together, these varied voices bear witness to the experience of living in a complicated city. - Mail on Sunday
Woolf produced blooms that are impossible to emulate. Johannesburg provides evidence of a novelist who can grow inimitable flowers herself. - The Spectator
Fiona Melrose was born in Johannesburg but has spent the majority of her adult life in the UK, first in London and then in East Anglia. She moved to Suffolk to concentrate on her writing and it is there that Midwinter was conceived. Previously Fiona has worked in academia, NGO's, public affairs and as an emerging markets analyst. She continues to keep a foot in both continents and is currently spending the majority of her time back in South Africa where she is completing her second novel.